Since the 2006 earthquake in Yogyakarta, the Indonesian government has carried out rehabilitation work for the structural stability of the Prambanan Temples. A team from Tsukuba University, Japan has also conducted research surveys for the restoration of Prambanan Temples. In addition, the World Heritage Centre sent an expert in historic building structures to carry out research and provide technical recommendations for the rehabilitation work on the damaged Temples. The Indonesian government, together with the UNESCO Office in Jakarta, jointly organized international expert meetings for the Safeguarding of Prambanan in 2007 and 2009.
The earthquake which hit Yogyakarta and Central Java caused severe damage to the Temple Compounds, and the Siva Temple suffered the most. Hence, at its 33rd committee session in 2009, the World Heritage Committee urged the Government of Indonesia to restore the Siva Temple for its long-term preservation (Decision 33COM 7B.73).
On 1 February 2011, a report on the state of conservation of the property was submitted by the State Party. This report outlines the progress made through rehabilitation activities according to the March 2007 Action Plan defined by the International Meeting of Experts and includes details of the capacity building, awareness raising and visitor management activities undertaken.
a) Research and restoration work
The State Party report also illustrated the research and monitoring activities that have been carried out at both Sewu and Prambanan Temples. The activities include mapping the contours in order to study the drainage system, analyzing the stability of the structure at Prambanan and the Planning evaluation of rehabilitation work that has not been implemented.
Restoration work has already been carried out and is continuing at both locations. However, despite the importance of the preservation of the site and the need for sustainable development mechanisms, several planned projects have been hampered due to a shortage of financial and human resources, which are vital for dealing with their long-term conservation at the local/national level. Since 2010 experts have been investigating the most appropriate way to save the Temple Compounds. There are some disagreements about how best to rehabilitate the Siva temple and strengthen its structure. The government has asked international and national experts for a proper methodology to ensure the long-term preservation of the Siva Temple.
b) Capacity building and awareness – raising
The State Party report also provided details of nine capacity building activities including, a one-month “Regional Training Course on Conservation and Restoration” as well as a workshop on “Technical Guidance on Conservation of Traditional Building”, both conducted at the site. Some of the actions were undertaken with the help of the international community and Tsukuba University in particular.
The State Party further indicated that a series of activities have been undertaken with a view to raising awareness among local, national and international communities. Most activities target students at elementary and high school and university level.
It is also reported that due to the current rehabilitation projects some Temples are currently closed to visitors. Some of the temples remain open for visitors and it has to be ensured that visitor activities do not hinder the ongoing rehabilitation work.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism also organised meetings in December 2010 and March 2011. The March 2011 meeting concluded that the Siva Temple is in an alarming condition and agreed on an eight-year restoration programme (starting 2011) for the Siva Temple. However, it was decided that no decision could yet be made on the nature of the restoration and that more extensive research should be carried out. To this end, an international meeting was organized by the Government of Indonesia and the UNESCO Office in Jakarta from 30 March to 1 April 2011 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia with the purpose of identifying ways of structurally consolidating the Prambanan Temple Compounds for their long-term preservation. The participants at the workshop adopted a series of recommendations on restoration and structural strengthening, material analysis, concept of authenticity and education and information issues, but maintained that no remedial activities should commence until the exact condition of the Siwa temple is fully understood.
d) Volcanic eruption of Mount Merapi
On 26 October 2010, the volcanic eruption of Mount Merapi seriously threatened the thousands of people living on the volcano's fertile slopes. This major eruption has blanketed the surrounding areas in volcanic ash of the Borobudur Temple Compounds World Heritage property. . The Prambanan temples were slightly covered by the volcanic ash, which was rapidly cleaned by the staff of the site management. Although, the lava/debris flow in the river nearby following the volcanic eruption was reported by the local media as a possible threat to the property, the UNESCO Jakarta mission found that the compound is well protected by high walls at the river bank.
Requested by the Indonesian authorities, the Director-General of UNESCO, through the World Heritage Centre and UNESCO Office in Jakarta, launched an emergency safeguarding initiative for Borobudur and Prambanan. The overall goals include rehabilitation of the temple compounds and enhancing and promoting the livelihoods of affected local communities, via their involvement in the rehabilitation of the cultural tourism and creative industry sector in the region.